It's clear that Pixar's "WALL-E" is making co-producer and distributor Disney nervous. And it's not hard to see why. It's too good. Too smart. And, most important, too dark.
Set in a future where the Earth has become covered in trash and swept by dust storms and where the only wildlife is the cockroach, "WALL-E" refers to our hero: a Waste Allocation Load Lifter, Earth class. He has been left behind to toil endlessly in the shadow of the planet's rubbish skyline.
Meanwhile, humankind has been traveling through space for 700 years waiting for Earth to regenerate. Thanks to the constant attention of robots, the human race has been reduced to morbid obesity, sloth and interactive video screens. This is not the Enchanted Forest. It's too plausible for that.
"WALL-E" is really an art film. It is besotted with its own technology, its own art -- almost to the point that it allows technology to sublimate the story.
It is, the more I think about it, a jewel of a film in conception, execution and message. But the kids, who had been laughing at a recent screening, got very quiet during certain sequences, especially when the Earth seemed irredeemable. "WALL-E's" glance into the future didn't do much for my bliss either, but the idea that a company in the business of mainstream entertainment would make something as creative, substantial and cautionary as "WALL-E" has to raise your hopes for humanity.
-- John Anderson (June 27, 2008)
Contains nothing objectionable.